Reader Opinion: Fritz Loven 'cleaned up'
When people clear trees after storm damage, they may be removing the solution for rebuilding. Fritz Loven was a healthy diverse natural forest. I believe the biggest motivation for logging it was money, not fires or disease. Timber companies benefit greatly after storms, and once in there, often "clean up" a little extra. When the entire forest and forest floor is removed, nothing is holding moisture. No understory, no ferns, no shrubs, no mosses, mushrooms, tree seedlings, and minimal surviving trees. Without that, there is no food for animals, hence no birds or animals remain. Think how hard it would be to create a natural forest with only sand and gravel.
Contrary to the sales pitch:
Fires—Over 85 percent are caused by humans, not lightening. No smoking allowed? No campfires? Then you've almost eliminated the concern. Get those broken trees on the ground. They will hold moisture in the ground, start decomposing and provide a good medium for future trees, and provide habitats. Leave some snags for cavity-nesters.
Disease—Most of the tree diseases are caused by insects preying on weakened trees. How do you prevent the spread when all the habitats of insect eating animals have been removed? Insect eating animals aren't given a chance to repair disease if they don't have food and a place to live. Yes, removing all the trees might be one prevention, but it is short sighted. Even in a lifetime, you won't have the same forest. You've taken away the interconnectedness of a natural forest. It has a support system within to repair and restart. The roots, the seeds, the topsoil, the snags were taken away at Fritz Loven. The chance for recovery was taken away. Most likely we will see the beginnings of one more poplar forest next year.